Last updated: 04-Dec-18
By Luke Jarmey
Jan Margarit may be one of the youngest runners on the Skyrunning circuit, but he’s had some exceptional results and will certainly be a name to watch going forward. We throw some questions his way to find out about his background, inspirations, cross training and more.
Q. Let kick this off with a bit about your background Jan, where did you grow up?
A. I grew up in Matadepera, a village close to Barcelona, we were living in a house close to the forest, and playing all the day with my brother and neighbours.
Q. I imagine being near the mountains was a great source of inspiration. What sports were you involved in as a child and young teenager?
A. I have some mountains close to where I grew up, but in the village field hockey is the most popular sport, so I spend some years on it! Also, I played a lot of tennis thanks to my father, and did also MTB with the family!
But we used to play a lot on the forest with my friends, and when I started running I come directly to mountain running as a way to continue playing there.
Q. How did mountain running progress into you competing in your first race?
A. I got into running as a part of the hockey training, and I realised that I like it more than the others. Some months after, I heard about a mountain race in my village called Mont- Rodon. Me and my mother registered to that, and I’ve never stop racing since then, and she neither. It was in January 2011.
Q. At what point did you realise you could become a professional athlete?
A. I didn’t really expect this till I really get into the highest level of racing. I do it because I love it, but every time it’s becoming more and more difficult to have good results, and I’m doing my best to be at the highest level.
Q. Which runners have inspired you the most and have you had a chance yet to race or train with them?
A. I don’t consider myself someone who has real Idols. But without doubt one of the runners who became my mentor since my arrival in the international racing is Marco De Gasperi, who has helped me always I needed something and has allowed me to feel like one more when I’ve been to his place!
Q. You’ve had some incredible results and you’re still so young! We’ve got to touch on your amazing 1st place at the 2017 Dolomites Skyrace. How did you find the course and was that an easy win for you or hard fought?
A. That’s true that that was an incredible race! I still can’t believe it! It was my biggest goal, and rally archive it! You know, sometimes all go in the good direction, and then magic happens. That was very special because I knew I arrived in my best shape, and I could do something great, but it was the first international race of the season, and you never know how the others are…
The day before I had some physical problems with the breath during the VK, and it was so frustrating… But that made me forget about pression, and start the important day just feeling like I was going to give it a try. The strategy was worth it, and after a crazy downhill with Marco, I fought with my friend Davide for the win!
Q. How has your 2018 season gone? I’ve heard you’ve had a bit of trouble with injury?
A. 2017 was a really awesome season. All went really good. I wanted more for 2018, but sometimes things don’t go as planned… I also think that I never plan to do the results I did in 2017, and so it was too much for me trying to prepare for a better 2018…
I was feeling in a very good shape, but no more joy or motivation where there anymore, and it all finished with an injury just a week before the start of the racing season. I was going thought a difficult moment and everything got more difficult after that.
But step by step, and trying to keep my mind busy in other things I like, I started to feel better; I started to work with my physio and finally started training again at the beginning of August, during some holidays with my family…
After those, I came back directly to Font Romeu, in the French Pyrenees, where I actually live. 1 month restarting to train with my friends there, just for fun, and feeling not too bad, I decided to go to Scotland at the middle of September for the Skyrunning World Champs.
I had a discrete result, but for me it represented the way I wanted to come back and I’m maybe more proud of this than of the biggest parts of my victories…
So, to sum up, I’ve learned a lot, and finally I’m not disappointed with the results I got from the races I did.
Q. Let’s talk about training; can you give us an insight into what your typical day looks like?
A. Well, so, in winter I use to train skiing, mostly XC skiing, but also ski mountaineering. And in summer mostly running, mountain biking, and cycling.
I like to wake up early, and go for a bigger/ more important session in the morning, to have the time to rest and be fresh for the other one in the afternoon. I try to combine sports, and usually I do a little jog or some exercises before breakfast if it’s possible.
But the routine actually changes in depending on the conditions, or if I’m studying or working, the timetables of training mates,…
Q. Do you ever throw a bit of climbing into the mix? If so, do you believe it helps in the technical side of mountain running?
A. I’ll actually like to climb more than I do. I’ve not done it so often in the latest years, but I think it gives you a really positive knowledge of your body, interesting for every activity, and also some technical skills that you can need in a race.
Q. On the subject of other sports, I’ve noticed that you cycle a lot, both on mountain and on road. Do you compete as well, or is just for ‘fun’?
A. I really love to mountain bike, but I don’t race too much now because I spend all the winter on the skis, and so I just do it for fun during the summer! And I bought a road bike last spring to go out with the friends that didn’t have MTB, and I really enjoy the possibility to train and chat easily at the same time, that in MTB is more difficult.
Q. Moving on, how big a part does nutrition play in your day to day life? Can you give us an idea of what a you eat on a training day?
A. I love eating, so I eat a lot, and almost everything. I try to take a little bit of care in some things, but I’ll always give me some pleasures! And, on a training day, I try just to eat as normal and varied as possible…
Q. When racing itself, do you have a specific brand of gel or bar that you like to use?
A. Yes, normally the Finisher gels and Bars come with me in trainings and races.
Q. Just to touch on gear, what are some of your favourite items of running kit?
A. So, Salomon Sense 6 SG are my favourite shoes. My Suunto 9 is coming to every training with me, and if I can chose, I love to wear long sleeves, but also shorts.
Q. To wrap this up, what does 2019 look like for you running wise? And do you have a particular goal in mind?
A. Sure! I’m really looking forward to do some good work during winter and be ready for a great season in 2019! My big goal will be the Golden Trail Series, trying to finish into the top 10 to get a pass for the final!
All images Lymbus/Sergi Colome.